LAVENDER – FROM FIELDS TO TABLE
This is way cool. Our friend Kyle is working on a second lavender cookbook for the annual Ojai Lavender Festival and, like last year, she has asked Richard to try out and adapt recipes using lavender… and I get to taste everything!!!
While growing up, my knowledge of lavender was two-fold. It was a pretty pastel color and smelled wonderfully. I knew it smelled wonderfully because my mom always bought Yardley’s lavender soap bars and, to this day, I love that scent. I know I abandoned Yardley when I was seduced by those Neiman Marcus tuberose bars, but my heart still belongs to my mom’s lavender soap.
As I grew older, I learned that lavender actually grew in vast fields and how beautiful dried lavender smelled in sachets. I filled my dresser drawers with them. But eat lavender? Why?
Well, over the years I found out why. A hint of lavender in pana cotta comes to mind. Delicious. Lavender infused vodka. Tres smooth.
But now that Richard has been experimenting w/ lavender, I thought I’d share w/ you the ones that trip the light fantastic on my tongue.
His first foray… lavender-poached pears. I love poached pears. I love them even more w/ a hint of lavender. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
3 fresh Bosc or other firm pears
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
Halve, peel, and core the pears. Toss the pear halves w/ lemon juice to prevent browning.
Tie lavender in a small piece of cheese cloth (or enclose in a mesh ball).
Place the pears in a microwave-safe dish and sprinkle w/ sugar. Add the water and lavender.
Cover and cook at full power for 6 minutes, or until pears are fork tender.
Squeeze the cheesecloth when removing the lavender, catching the juice, and add lemon the lemon zest. Spoon syrup over pears, cover and let stand at least 30 minutes, or refrigerate overnight before servicing.
Richard says that if you feel the sauce is too thin, set pears aside, pour sauce into a small “sauce” pan and reduce it for a bit.
Note: Only culinary lavender can be used for cooking.
Check out Volume 1 of the lavender cookbook.